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CNN's Lou Dobbs: "Dismal ratings, lost affiliates, broken deals. It has been a rough year for broadcast television network CBS. This week another dose of bad news. CBS reported a 51% plunge in its profits. The network blames higher taxes and falling sales from losing the rights to broadcast professional football and baseball" ("Money Week," CNN, 10/16). Across its schedule, CBS is about 8% short of the ratings it guaranteed advertisers, meaning it will have to give them free additional ads. CBS President Howard Stringer: "It's a little too early to be concerned" (Elizabeth Jensen, WALL STREET JOURNAL, 10/17). Letterman's Top Ten on Friday night was "Ways CBS Can Improve Its Prime Time Ratings." No. 5: "Show some football games! Everybody loves football games!" ("Late Show," CBS, 10/14).
While the NHL lockout continues, ESPN is plugging gaps in their programming with mountain biking, reruns of last year's Stanley Cup, and rescheduled college football games. ESPN2 is making do with minor league hockey and body- building, and Prime Network is offering an eight-game Arizona Fall baseball League package (AP/GREENSBORO NEWS & RECORD, 10/15)....Viacom's Paramount Stations Group has agreed to buy two independent television stations from Combined Broadcasting, WGBS in Philadelphia and WBFS in Miami (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 10/17)....Going into yesterday's game against the Patriots, the Jets' average Nielsen rating in N.Y. has fallen four full points since last year, which translates to a loss of 268,000 homes per telecast (N.Y. NEWSDAY, 10/14)...."75 Seasons," the story of the NFL which recently appeared on TNT, is now available from PolyGram Video at video stores (The NFL).....The final Nielsen rating for "Baseball" was a 5.1. PBS projects that 28M people saw it all or in part (BOSTON GLOBE, 10/16)...."Inside Stuff" profiled "Hoop Dreams," a documentary on two Chicago teens and their basketball hopes ("NBA Inside Stuff," 10/15). An ad for "Hoop Dreams" notes that Nike and Sports Illustrated are offering group ticket rates through an 800-number.